Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Friday, August 13, 2021

When Jonathan Neville gets it right, he deserves credit

It’s no secret that I disagree with Jonathan Neville on several key beliefs upon which his worldview is founded.

However, occasionally he surprises me by posting something to one of his blogs that is so clearly and obviously true that I must give him credit for it. (See here, for example.)

Today is one of those days.

On August 13, 2021, Neville posted the following to his Book of Mormon Consensus and Moroni’s America blogs. I’m going to quote his entire post because it is highly worthy of dissemination:

Face masks and vaccinations

Because I get asked often, here’s what I think about face masks and vaccinations.

I’ve lived in China and the Philippines. I’ve worked in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, and Thailand, and I’ve visited those countries plus Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam. In all these places, it has long been standard practice to wear a face mask if you have a respiratory illness. It’s common sense.

We were living in China when COVID broke out.

It seems to be a cultural and political issue in the U.S., not because of science, but because of economics. Corporate media profits by controversy. In my view, Church leaders have given common sense advice ever since the COVID outbreak started, regarding both the face masks and the vaccinations.

People can do whatever they want, but I want to be clear that I support Church leaders, including the recent advice. I got vaccinated early on and I have no problem wearing a face mask when it makes sense.

I hope everyone can make good decisions for themselves without being angry or oppositional about others’ choices.
In his post, Neville refers to the First Presidency Message released August 12, 2021, in which President Russell M. Nelson, President Dallin H. Oaks, and President Henry B. Eyring wrote to the Saints, “To limit exposure to [COVID-19 and its variants], we urge the use of face masks in public meetings whenever social distancing is not possible. To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated. Available vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective.”

Peter Pan receives a COVID-19 vaccination from Dr. Tinkerbell
Peter Pan agrees with the First Presidency that COVID‑19 vaccines “have proven to be both safe and effective.”
Unfortunately, the First Presidency’s message has been treated with disdain by some Latter-day Saints who have fallen prey to baseless conspiracy theories. Among these Saints are many Heartlanders, for whom conspiracy theory is the basis of their worldview.

Most prominent among them is perhaps Rian Nelson, blogger and social media manager for Rod Meldrum’s FIRM Foundation. I’ve mentioned Nelson before on this blog; he is a conspiracy theorist extraordinaire. Earlier this year he published a blog post in which he compared vaccines to sorcery and the occult and called pharmaceutical drugs “poisonous.” The week before that, he published a post in which he tried to thread the eye of needle with a camel by claiming that he agrees with President Nelson about the importance of “vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals,” while also questioning who can be considered “competent” and rejecting the entirety of mainstream medicine. He then went on to recommend the views of Sherri Tenpenny, one of today’s leading anti-vax conspiracy theorists who has falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccinations can cause people to become magnetized and are connected in some way to 5G cellular towers (another bizarre conspiracy that’s in vogue today).

In the midst of the deeply flawed and dangerous misinformation being spread by Rian Nelson and other Heartlanders—one of whom will be a speaker at next month’s FIRM Foundation EXPO (speaker bio archived here in case the page is changed)—I applaud Jonathan Neville for being clearheaded about this matter and supporting the leaders of Church without looking for creative ways to dance around their counsel while pretending to sustain them.

—Peter Pan

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering why people started liking me so much better after I got vaccinated. Must be my newly acquired "magnetic" personality. Wonder how long it will last!


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